Tony Cook's "Dinoceras" (detail), East 51st Street
Photo Credits
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All photos:
Roving Rube
'03 May 29

Rube's Notes:

What a difference a label makes!

The Rube had always interpreted this work, based on his usual view of it from across the street (Fig. 1), as a giant piece of driftwood which had washed up against this severe, sand-colored skyscraper, contrasting the bleak aimlessness of nature with the numbing repetition of corporate architecture. Seeing the two together always added one extra little cloud to his sky.

But when he actually climbed up on the raised plaza to look at the thing for this series, he discovered that the plaque said "Dinoceras, bronze, Robert Cook, 1921-". And in the brief time between then and now, he not only likes the sculpture a whole lot better, but it has lifted up the whole skyscraper behind it in the Rube's imagination. For now he sees them both as exemplifying the fantastic possibilities of nature combined with "deep time", the triceratops (the Rube believes this to be one, with Figure 2 showing the tail pointed towards us, cloven in the same manner as were the plastic tails of the dinosaur collection of the child Rube, from his habit of gnawing on them) evolving out of the inert sand over countless millions of years, living for a instant, then petrifying over many more eons until it finally emerged from this sharply eroded cliff of a skyscraper, like one of those lucky charm animals embedded in a bar of soap, transmuted into a fossil bronze.

Today when he walked by, it made him feel a little better about being alive.

If Robert Cook is still alive, he is 82. There is actually more in Google on a book his wife wrote about how they "bought an unpromising piece of land near the little hamlet of Canale, north of Rome where the ancient Etruscans once lived. Here they built a house and, more important, set out to start a wonderful garden." Perhaps he is in the trough between his greatest popularity and his rediscovery, like some of those rock bands from the 80's whose stuff STILL hasn't been reissued on CD.




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Fig. 1 Fig. 2